In the following situations an exception with respect to the flag requirement may be applicable, provided that the tax payer operates at least one qualifying ship with an EU/EEA flag:
- if, prior to operating the new ship, the percentage of the qualifying ships with an EU/EEA flag has not been reduced in relation to January 17th 2004 (reference date). This calculation will be based on the net tonnage, to be judged in relation to the entirety of the taxpayer’s fleet that qualifies for the tonnage tax. For taxpayers that have applied for the tonnage-tax scheme after January 17th 2004, the fleet at the year-end of the first year for which the taxpayer qualified for the tonnage tax scheme, will serve as the reference date;
- if, prior to operating the new ship, the net tonnage of qualifying ships with an EU/EEA flag already operated by the taxpayer, amounts to at least 60% of the proportion of the taxpayer’s total qualifying fleet;
- if in the calendar year a ship is being first used by the taxpayer, the three-year average percentage of all qualifying EU/EEA ships of the total qualifying Dutch fleet in the relevant fiscal year has not decreased in comparison to the preceding three-year average*;
Towing and dredging activities do not qualify for the exceptions to the flag requirements.
*The three-year average percentage of all qualifying EU/EEA ships of the total qualifying Dutch fleet decreased in the period 2021 – 2019 compared to 2020 - 2018. This means that the third exception to the flag requirement may not be applied in 2023.